It’s a rhetorical question, but can you really imagine how rock and pop music could have evolved without the United States Of America? If it wasn’t for indigenous music such as the blues, we wouldn’t have had rock’n’roll and all that came after, so it’s fair to say we owe the US a pretty hefty debt of gratitude when it comes to most musical genres. Celebrating – and sometimes critiquing – one of the biggest nations in the world, the best songs about America go some way towards repaying that debt.
15: Chuck Berry: Back In The USA (1959)
A song which proudly champions the American way of life, Chuck Berry’s 1959 hit Back In The USA was inspired by an Australian tour during which the pioneering rock’n’roller witnessed the native Aboriginal peoples’ less-than-salubrious standard of living. A low-riding rocker performed with an all-star blues band including pianist Johnnie Johnson and bassist Willie Dixon, Back In The USA featured vivid lyrics (“Looking hard for a drive-in, searching for a corner café/Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day”) which yearned for the comforts of home. An early contender among the best songs about America, its appealing, all-American slant has since lent itself to memorable covers by artists ranging from MC5 to Linda Ronstadt.